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Kobe Bryant on Dwight Howard: 'I'm happy for him'

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Kobe Bryant told Dwight Howard that Howard needs him.   (USATSI)
Kobe Bryant says he's happy for Dwight Howard. (USATSI)

He may have unfollowed Dwight Howard on Twitter, but Kobe Bryant says he's happy for his former teammate.

Via ESPN LA, Bryant spoke to reporters Wednesday at his annual youth basketball camp and claimed to be fine with Howard's decision to sign with the Houston Rockets.

"I'm happy for him," Bryant said, without a hint of his usual sarcasm. "I've said that before. I'm happy for him. It's important for free agents to make decisions that they feel is best for them. That's really what it's about, being a free agent. You have to make decisions that you feel is best for you, best for your family and best for your brand, whatever it may be. So, it is what it is."

Without Howard, the Lakers are left in a challenging future position. The team that scraped into the postseason doesn't have a future cornerstone piece to build with. Instead, it's an aging roster that doesn't have current cap space and no young assets.

As to why Howard left the Lakers -- something a bit unprecedented -- Kobe says he's not losing sleep over it

"I haven't followed enough to hear what he's kind of said about going to Houston and some of the reasons why he went to Houston," Bryant said. "I don't know. I don't. You look at me, you really think once a guy decides to go someplace else, I'm going to waste my time trying to figure out why that happened?"

The assumption was that once Bryant retired -- he turns 35 next month and is coming off a major Achillies injury -- that Howard would assume the role of being the face of the Lakers. That was mostly the Lakers' pitch to him in free agency , but apparently that didn't sway the big man.

"I think everybody is cut differently," Bryant said. "[Howard] has his way of leading that he feels like would be most effective and would work for him, and obviously the way we've gone about it with this organization and the leaders that we've had -- myself, Magic [Johnson] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] -- we've done it a different way."

Bryant spoke on the Lakers' meeting with Howard and what the tone and feel was like.

"I was just kind of going in there and I really didn't know what to expect, to be honest with you," Bryant said. "I walk in there and everybody is sitting down and everybody is quiet, I didn't know what the hell was going on. Everybody was just really dead-ass serious. It was pretty funny to me."

As to why Bryant unfollowed Howard on Twitter, he explained it simply: Don't follow the enemy.

"Listen, man, it's just me," Bryant said. "That's just how I am. I have a hard time following people that want to beat us and stuff. I have a hard time doing that. Not to say that we're not friends or I don't respect him or anything like that, it's just hard for me to do that."
 
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